Sermons 2006
"Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Proper 12B, 2006 Mark 6:45-52

Take heart; it is I; do not be afraid.” “Have courage,” Jesus tells us in the midst of the times when we need courage the most.

A dear old character, a member of the Seminary faculty during my three years there, used to greet me in the halls of Seminary every day. He was one of those unforgettable Christian souls who give the Church a good name, a true angel unaware. He always greeted me by saying, “What’s the word?”

I took it merely as his way of saying hello, how are you, how’s it going, small w word, not capital W Word. I thought it was merely the idiosyncratic way a lovably eccentric character greeted people, and not to be taken literally.

But one day, for some reason, probably because I particularly needed it, when he asked me, “What’s the word?” I answered without a moment’s hesitation: “Courage!”

He stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me closely, broke into a lovely big smile, and said, “That’s it, that’s right, that’s exactly right!”

“Take heart; it is I; do not be afraid.” “Have courage,” the Lord who loves us tells us in the midst of the times when our courage fails, when we need courage most.

There’s a marvelous story about courage from the Zen masters, from a book entitled Zen Poems of China and Japan: During the series of rebellions that plagued Japan in the 16th and 17th Centuries, a rebel army occupied a Japanese town. There was a Zen temple there but all the monks had fled except the abbot. The rebel general swaggered into the temple and was infuriated to find that the master refused to greet him, let alone show the general deference as a conqueror.

“Don’t you know,” shouted the enraged general, “that you are looking at someone who can run you through without batting an eye.”

They looked at each other for a moment, the battle hardened general and the old, stooped abbot.

“And you,” said the abbot quietly, “are looking at someone who CAN be run through without batting an eye.

The general recognized courage. His scowl turned to a smile. He bowed low to the abbot and left the temple quietly.

Take heart; it is I; do not be afraid.” “Have courage,” Jesus tells us in the midst of the times when we need courage the most.

Courage comes in many forms. When I was taking paratroop training in that long ago late winter of 1962 at Fort Benning, Georgia too many years ago, my Airborne 22 company found a number among us weeded out for one reason or another. Usually it was freezing and refusing to leap out of the 34 foot towers in the second week. The Army had determined that 34 feet plus a soldier’s height was the most daunting psychologically. And there were our extremely hard-boiled jump-masters. Most of us felt that the parachute jumps themselves were bad enough, but jump-masters were worse.

There was logic, however, in jump-master actions, although we would have been the last to admit it. Whether over a plowed-up field in Georgia in peacetime, or over an enemy area in a foreign country, the plane must be emptiued quickly over the drop zone. Even if only one man hesitates, it could cause those behind him to miss the drop zone. So the jump-master is always ready to add a not-too-gentle assist to any soldier who needs it.

In a real sense jump school is analogous to life. There are times when it becomes necessary to step into an unknown direction with nothing but faith and determination to help. Sometimes it is good to have someone standing behind who can give the extra impetus. Usually, like the paratrooper, our hesitation is caused by fear - fear of death occasionally, but more often by fear of life. Or fear of peer pressure, or the opinion of others, or depression, or hopelessness. Any number of causes. And not to decide on stepping out is to decide.

We can see this in election campaign promises, often broken between election and assumption of office because the politician might bow to the dictates of a controlling interest because he cannot face the possibility of defeat at the ballot box. Teenagers might give in to drugs simply to "follow the crowd" – even right here in Northumberland County. Or anyone might choose to "ride the fence" and/or sacrifice integrity rather than stand firmly - and perhaps alone - for conviction or principle. That list too is long. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think than about what’s truly important.

The paratrooper never completely loses the fear of jumping, but does develop a faith in the parachute and its canopy which gives the jumper the courage to jump. And any one of us might hesitate - even tremble – at times when faced making decisions for the harder right instead of the easier wrong. But the way is easier when there is always someone behind, ready to give the necessary boost out.

And when the step is taken, jumpers will usually find a canopy of God's grace to sustain them and to help them conquer their fears. (1)

Take heart; it is I; do not be afraid.” “Have courage,” our Lord tells us in the midst of the times when we need courage the most.


1. adapted from eSermons Illustrations

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